Part 57: Mechanics 3 - Card SkillsGame Mechanics Update 3
Steal and Blizzard in action
Finally, the last major mechanic is unlocked. While there are a few other things added to the game later on, none of them compare in importance to this one. Card skills are second in importance to only Unions, and they open a huge amount of abilities for us. I'm putting this update before BF7, because Cards will be used throughout the mission.
You use card skills while in a clash, and their effects include straight damage, stat adjustment, granting special attributes, or just flat out winning the battle.
To use a skill, your head must be alive, and you need a full skill bar. You can fill it through Tec alone, having it cumulate between battles, or by going Passive. Enemies can (and will) use their skill right after reaching MAX.
Besides the Effect of the card, there are three main points you need to know in regards to using them - Ace, Qualifiers, and Skill Type.
The Card Ace is represented by a weapon type, and is the first condition that must be satisfied in order to use card skills. If a unit with that weapon type starts the union, he's considered the Ace, and card skills are unlocked for everyone in the union. Banish, for example, has a Sword Ace. If Yggdra is the Union Leader while using Banish, everyone in the Union can use the card. Shield Barrier has an All Ace, meaning anyone quallifies for Ace status.
The AI is not bound by Ace conditions. Every opponent counts as an Ace for every card.
If you have no plans on actually using the skill, but just want the movement and/or power, none of this really matters and you can use the cards just as you were prior.
Once the Ace is out of the way, some cards have special qualifying conditions for users. Shield Barrier has no Qualifiers, so anyone can use it. Taking a look at Steal, we see "Milanor only" in the Qualify section. In order to use Steal, the Ace condition must be met, and only Milanor can use it in battle.
Other qualifiers include:
Mind Change, "If enemy is same size/gender" - This card can only be used when facing an enemy of equal size and gender. Milanor can use it vs. Bandits or Fencers, but not Knights. Nietzsche can use it vs. Valkyries, Assasins, and other Undines, etc.
Revolution, "Valkyrie & Yggdra only" - Revolution is restricted to the Valkryie class, and Yggdra. It also comes with: "When only head is alive" meaning you can only use it when the rest of your party is down, and it's a 1 vs X.
Sactuary, "Noon only" - Simply put, you can only activate this card during noon.
While the AI can ignore the Ace condition, they cannot ignore the special qualifiers.
There are two Skill Types, X and O (A and B in the GBA version). X types require a charge before you can use the skill. O types activate immediately, and slowly drain your skill gauge until it's cancelled.
Some examples of X-type skills include Steal, Flame, and Sanctuary.
O-types include Shield Barrier, Mirage, and Banshee's Cry.
Each X-Type skill needs to be charged to use the skill. To do so, you hold X, which will create a smaller charge gauge underneath your skill gauge. As you hold X, the bar fills. Once it's at full, you can release X at any time to unleash the skill. Your charging can be cancelled, so be careful. The AI does not need to charge, and will use their skill immediately.
Cancelling Skill Charge
There are two things the AI can do to stop you from charging a skill. If they use their own card skill while you are charging, they interrupt you and you have to charge from 0 again. If the enemy uses a Flash Attack, you will be interrupted. This is also annoying as fuck.
If either side is defeated you will also be interrupted. This gets annoying with a few cards, notably Steal.
Since the AI does not need to charge, you cannot interrupt them.
When you have a full skill gauge, simply hitting O will activate the skill, and it will stay active until it is cancelled.
There are various ways to end an O-Type effect.
Stopping the Skill Yourself: The skill only remains active as long as you're holding the O button. You can let go at any time, and the skill ends.
Ending the Battle: Obviously. Some O-type skills will effect the morale calculations, like Mirage, so there may be times you want to either run it the whole time, or fire it right before the battle is over.
Enemy Card Use: If the enemy activates any skill (or you vs them) O-type cards are cancelled. The effect may last until the enemy card is resolved, though. For example, Shield Barrier will stop almost any card effect, even when that card cancells your Shield Barrier.
Interrupting an enemy will also drain their Rage bar to empty. You are left with whatever percentage of Skill as you had.
Empty Skill Gauge: Again, pretty obvious. If you drain the entire bar, the skill ends.
While it's hard to categorize the effects, there are some traits that are shared among multiple cards.
Cards like Banish and Rockfall apply here. In the Memo section, you see roughly how much damage the skill does.
Banish, for example, deals YTec +2 - EGen, or (Caster's Tec + 2) - (Enemy Gen).
If you had 3 Tec, and the enemy had 2 Gen, you'd deal 2+3 -2 = 3 damage, killing on average 3 small enemy units. Much like charges and counters, there is variance in card damage.
Rockfall deals Ytec +1 - EGen.
Damage cards can be further broken down into elemental damage, like Flame or Blizzard, or Geo Damage, like Rockfall.
Many damage cards deal a status effect as a secondary property, and some cards only afflict status.
Taking Rockfall as an example again, we see that it can afflict Slow. The formula for success is: YTec >= EGen = OK. In other words, if the caster's Tec is at least as high as the enemy's Gen, the status is applied.
Flame can afflict the flame status, with the same success rate.
Many cards don't fall under either of these, but don't really share a category with anything else. They will be explained as we see them.
Outside the regular damage calculation, there are ways of dealing Fatal Damage to your target. There are various different effects all labelled as Fatal Damage.
Fatal Damage: If a unit is targetted by an element or GEO they are weak against (Undines are weak against Fire, Knights weak in Forest) they will take Fatal Damage. This will instantly reduce the party to only the head - who still has their full HP.
Fatal Damage (Head): If only the head is alive, and is hit by a skill they are weak against, this causes a new type of Fatal Damage, which will instantly kill the head and end the fight.
Fatal Damage (Revolution): Yggdra's Revolution skill causes a unique type of Fatal Damage. It looks like the regular type, except all the unit damage is transfered to the Head.
Imagine for a second that regular units have 10HP, and the Head has 20HP. If the unit currently being damaged has taken 8 damage (and is at 2HP) and you use Revolution, the head will take that unit's 8 damage, and be at 12HP.
We've seen items already that increase the power of elements, like the Flamberg. If you have this, or anything with a simliar UP effect, your elemental skill cards will almost always cause Fatal Damage. Enemies that Void the damage will still shrug it off. Enemies that are already weak to the element will take:
Overkill Damage: When you have an improved element, and the enemy is weak against it, they will be defeated instantly.
"The shadow of the wind snatches all... Even the treasure of the gods." - Saezar the Wind Demon.
Steal: If Milanor's Tec is at least as high as the enemy Gen, we will permamently take their item. Easily one of the most useful cards in the game. If we steal an item and win the clash, we also gain a 10% Steal Bonus.
The only problems are the Axe Ace which means Milanor has to lead the Union for a long time, and the high movement means it's harder to fill the skill gauge. Its charge time is also annoyingly long.
"Crazed demon bathed in crimson moonlight... Let fountains of blood rain from thy claws." - Anon of the Red Moon
Bloody Claw: The Assassin's trademark card. While we don't get an Assassin to use this for a long time, it still comes with high movement and high power. Killing the head immediately shuts out 2/9 of the party strength, and prevents them from using their own card skills. If you deal the finishing blow with Bloody Claw, you gain a 10% Bloody Claw bonus, PSP version only.
The Night restriction isn't as bad as it seems, since many of the final levels are locked to Night only.
"Sage wielding the holy scepter of war... Let thy light shield the weak." - Hasha Hatti the Protector
Shield Barrier: Completely broken. Not only do you take 0 combat damage, you block almost all card effects from damaging you. The All Ace makes it even sweeter.
It lasts half as long as most O-types, but that's still almost long enough to go through most of a RAGE bar.
"O coffin of ice, sealing away anguish... Invite death with thy bitter eulogy." - Ice Crusher Enreuke
Diamond Dust (Undine): "Uphold the ancient pact... Seal mine enemy's fate with Ice." - Queen Cestina
Blizzard: Damage cards have all been improved over their GBA counterparts. In Blizzard's case, it's been added the +2 Str. Overall, pretty straight forward, and follows the basic pattern all elemental damage cards follow. Ice is probably the most usefull element, but that's not saying too much. If an Undine uses it, it will freeze all water tiles on the map until noon.
"O sorceress clad in the flames of hell... Let thy fiery incarnation bear its fangs." - Masende, the High Sorceress
Flame: Flame now deals +1 damage, and afflicts the flame status. Possibly one of the better elemental damage cards, since you need it to get a couple items, and I use Staff users more than Spear users. Fire damage isn't very useful though.
"O shepherd with earthly body and heavenly soul... Strike down evil with holy light." - San Asta Narev
Banish: A source of Holy damage, and now deals +2. The Holy damage comes in very handy for a while, but it's not very exciting afterwards.
"Twin goddesses each born with a single wing... With imperfection lies ever changing hearts." - Gemini Aristella
Mind Change: Every character can use it to great effect, but at the same time it's completely useless a lot of the time. You really need a Tec advantage to put it to work. For however much your Tec is higher than their Gen, they lose that many units, and you gain.
"O valkyrie of the doomed rebellion... In the depths of despair, sing us to victory." - Nirvana, Goddess of Battle
Revolution: Causes Fatal Damage (Revolution) and if you're good with timing you can make Yggdra win a lot of losing battles. At the very least, you take a chunk out of the enemy numbers. It's my go-to high movement opening card, but probably just because I dig the art.
"Maiden of the sacred sanctuary... Grant weary soldiers a moment of peace." - Laksimi the Half-Beast
Sanctuary: Revives as many members as your Tec. It's a solid card, if not for the Noon Only requirement, since many late levels are locked to night.
"O spring of eternal purity... Bubble with the longs of the faeries." - Cullin Fairy of the Holy Spring
Refreshment: Next to no movment, and a noon requirement? I think this would be a fun card to bring along otherwise. To be honest, I've never used this card before, so I can't say how valuable either of the effects are. It's easy to see when it would be useful though.
"Whimsical fairie of the rainbow crystal... Let thy illusions become reality." - Rubina the Dreamer
Mirage: Swapping GEO has a few good effects. You can take a bridge or fort, to gain status, and you can force a boss onto a GEO with less defense. Noon only though... I don't get much use of this one.
"I summon thee, burier of the dead... Let thy shriek pierce the enemy's heart." - Iona the Gravedigger.
Banshee's Cry: While the effect isn't very exciting at this point of the game (dropping 2 Atk to 1...) late game this card is powerful. With good Mov and a good effect, I almost always use this card.
"Mischievous demon plotting in solitude... Let boulders rain from the heavens." - Ripfaike the Devilish
Rockfall: Meh. Low Mov, low damage, GEO locked... The PSP version adds +1 damage, and the Slow effect, which only allows the afflicted to move 1 tile per turn. Wasteland is common in the beginning, middle and end, but I find the card overall underwhelming.
"O emperor, protector of many... Victory exists under thy flag alone." - Lion King Allemronde
Ace Guard: If the Union Leader uses this, all upcoming clashes are immune to enemy charges or counterattacks. It's a pretty sweet card, especially if you're fearful of Critical Hits. Its low movement allows pretty much anyone to lead the Union and fire it off to protect everyone else. It's low movement is also really low, so there's that issue.
Next Battlefield is done, so that should be up sooner than later.